Medical malpractice is considered the third leading cause of death in the United States, which is disturbing and outright scary for patients seeking medical treatment.
From medical errors that lead to a patient having the wrong body part amputated to unexpected and deadly infections, the number of medical errors in the United States is increasing. Therefore, Mesa medical malpractice lawyers have their hands full.
For those that suspect they are a victim of malpractice, it is important to understand the basic facts of this legal process. By being prepared and doing due diligence, a plaintiff can protect their case and possibly increase the likelihood they will have a positive result.
10 Facts Mesa Medical Malpractice Lawyers Want Victims to Know
1. The Medical Standard of Care Applies
To have a viable malpractice claim, the physician must breach the medical standard of care. This is a standard applied to physicians that require them to provide their patients with a higher duty of care than the average person. They must work within their competency and training, and if they fail to do so, they could be considered negligent.
2. What Constitutes Malpractice?
The official definition of malpractice is when a doctor, hospital or another healthcare professional through omission or negligence causes injury to a patient.
3. The Statute of Limitations Applies
There is a statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims just as there is a regular personal injury claim. In Arizona, the statute of limitations for malpractice claims is two years from the date of injury per the Arizona Revised Statue Section 12-542.
4. Patients Can Lessen the Chances of Malpractice (Sometimes)
Sometimes, patients can protect themselves from being victims of malpractice by communicating with their physician. While most instances of malpractice are the doctor’s sole responsibility, at times patients do not share details or ask questions; leading to confusion.
Patients should always be their advocates for safety, including reviewing care plans, going over risks for procedures, and more.
5. Certain Procedures are More Likely to Result in Malpractice Claims
Some medical professions and procedures are more apt to result in claims. For example, the complicated procedures or high-risk treatments are more apt to cause a claim than a simple, routine procedure. However, that does not mean that routine procedures are without risks or that errors do not occur during those procedures.
6. The Medical Licensing Board Should be Notified
After an injury is suspected, the patient or Mesa medical malpractice lawyers should contact the medical licensing board to launch an investigation. The board will not only investigate the claim, but they will also keep records of these complaints and their outcomes to warn future patients.
7. Medical Assessments are Required
To determine if malpractice occurred, a medical malpractice attorney will consult with a physician of similar specialty and training to the physician accused. This doctor may perform a physical examination of the victim, but they are also likely to look at the patient’s medical history and records that led up to the injury.
The attorney will move forward with the claim if the physician reviewing the case agrees that the doctor deviated from the standard of care required of them.
8. The Physician May be an Independent Contractor
Some doctors are given permissions at a hospital or clinic, but they are not employees of that clinic. Therefore, only the physician can be held liable for the injury, which means that the patient may be limited to the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance limits.
9. Respondeat Superior Could Apply
The legal theory of respondeat superior allows victims to hold employers of physicians and other health care workers responsible for employee actions.
For example, a nurse fails to monitor a patient’s vitals, and because of her negligence, the patient dies. The nurse was an employee of the hospital; therefore, under respondeat superior, she, the hospital, and even the nursing manager may be considered liable.
However, per Cornell University Law School, respondeat superior only applies if the employee or agent was performing duties within their scope of employment. So, a nurse treating a patient outside of the clinic or hospital, and without having permission to do so from her employer, would be solely liable for the injuries, while her hospital would not be.
Some hospitals will try to skirt the theory of respondeat superior by hiring independent contractors. However, this route does not always protect the hospital, and good medical malpractice attorneys will review employment records and contracts to determine if they were truly a contractor.
10. Always Work with Mesa Medical Malpractice Lawyers for a Claim
Medical malpractice claims are highly complex.
Even if you know you are the victim of malpractice, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney.
The Mesa medical malpractice attorneys at Tobler Law can help.
Our attorneys have handled numerous malpractice claims against physicians, nurses, pharmacies, and other healthcare professionals throughout the state. Whether you need to file a claim for gastric bypass problems, birth injuries, cancer, or even a misdiagnosis, contact our attorneys first to look for solutions.
Schedule a consultation with Tobler Law’s malpractice team at 480-898-9700. We are available 24 hours per day to take your call. You can also request a meeting online.